Oh, golly, where shall I start.
Consider this: before 1995, all long-distance rail and commuter trains were owned and run by British Rail, wholly owned by the Crown. The London underground was owned by the Crown as well, under a different structure.
After 1995, the rail network was broken up into many different divisions, and is now called "National Rail".
There was one company that owned and maintained the infrastructure (track, stations, etc.): Railtrack. This went bankrupt through ineptitude, mismanagement, and inexperience, and has now changed into something called Network Rail.
There were three companies that owned and maintained the rolling stock.
There was one freight company for all freight services.
There were about 30 (perhaps more) companies that leased the trains to run services over the track.
There were a few miscellaneous companies.
There are two government rail regulators at the moment, soon to change to one.
Success? The Southeast franchise was so inept that the government removed the franchise holder and at the moment runs the trains themselves. They have been moderately successful, but our government in its wisdom has decided to franchise it out again to someone else.
The companies that were contracted by Railtrack to maintain the infrastructure had to cut costs to return value to their investors. Result? The Potters Bar derailment a few years ago that killed a number of people--this was caused by an inexperienced worker or workers who did not install a switch correctly. Jarvis (the contracting company) maintained that it was sabotage until confronted with evidence to the contrary. Jarvis is now close to bankruptcy. There are several reports of inexperienced subcontract workers killed on the lines because they were not sufficiently trained in safety procedures and made errors resulting in their or others' deaths.
As for the buses, the big companies (Connex, Stagecoach, WAGN, FirstBus) conspire together to carve up the country into new monopolies where they can charge what they like. Only in London and perhaps in other large cities is there any form of brake on this tendency. Rural communities abandoned by the railway cuts under Dr. Beecher in the 1960's are now being abandoned by the bus companies as it is uneconomic to run services to them. Therefore more and more rural residents remain totally dependent on their cars.
The government widens the privatisation program on the spurious grounds that it spreads risk from the government to the private sector. However, the private companies have cunningly made contracts that ensure that they will get a profit no matter what happens with the railway or Underground business.
Yeah, you can make a few pounds occasionally. However, you also can seriously injure and kill people, ruin rural transport links, and get subsidies from the government to pass directly to your shareholders. It's a great scam.